There’s a pervading warmth about this jolly, traditional pantomime, although the storyline, despite some witty dialogue in parts, is rather thin. Perhaps this is to accommodate some superb scenes, stunningly costumed, which feature the Anita Tymcyshyn Dancers.
The first half finale was a blockbuster. Leona Skimming, as an agile Dick, has a great voice and real presence, and is ably partnered by Jemma Carlisle’s Alice. The vastly experienced Ian Moore is on top of his game as Sarah the Cook, robust and remarkably busty, if some of his material lacks taste, while Mike Lancaster, returning to pantomime after many years as a somewhat mature Idle Jack is clearly enjoying himself hugely.
Down to earth Fairy Beaux Bells (Catherine Breeze) eventually gets the better of a very glamourous Queen Ratella, played with a swagger and a swish by Sarah Shepherd.¬† Tommy the cat, though, hardly does anything. Completing the cast are David Burton as Alderman and Alan Rothwell, whose direction is impeccable. Up to date music is provided by Paul Crompton and Clive Wilkinson. All this without a name from the soaps anywhere in sight.